Dead Island screenshot
Dead Island screenshot

After six years in development, Techland has come up with a nuts-and-bolts zombie experience simulator. Somewhere in its genetic code is a shade of Left 4 Dead's zombie types, a bit of Dead Rising's crafting system, and Borderlands' preference for co-op. But beneath all that design is just a sustained rumination on what it must really be like to hit somebody in the face with a paddle. It was never going to surprise anyone that the game would have nothing in common with its marketing. But still, to the denizens of the Internet who were getting all hot and heavy over the initial FMV trailer, Dead Island is eager to provide the cold bucket of water to bring you back to reality.

And the reality is that Banoi Island sets the scene for a particularly inept survival story. You play one of four larger-than-life characters from B-movie central casting, whose Mean Motherf*cker personalities seem to have been outsourced from an entirely different genre. From the start it becomes clear that Techland had two different games in mind during the development process, and the result is an ill-fitted contradiction, a brainless punch 'em up melee game tucked inside sincere apocalyptic tragedy.

Dead Island tries to reconcile its two halves, but it never quite works out. The delightful zombie survival gimmick is quickly replaced with a rollercoaster of odd jobs and fetch quests as dictated by NPCs from various camps, and as one of the few remaining survivors who happen to be immune to zombification, you play the only character capable of finding jewellery for sobbing widows, and fixing broken fire hydrants around the block.

Rather than being a focal point of the game, zombies provide a temporary blockade between you and your objectives, and you can at least partly thank Techland's Chrome 5 engine for that. Its engine can only generate a handful of foes at a time, meaning on a bad day you'll be face-to-face with four to six undead, leaving you to imagine that zombie outbreaks just aren't as big an issue as what you'd previously imagined.

It's when the game returns to its default factory settings of head-punching and rib-kicking that it's at its best. Dead Island can't seem to gets its head around much in terms of quest content, but Techland has successfully built what basically amounts to a three-dimensional spread of Whack-A-Mole. Guns join the party late in the game, so throughout most of Dead Island melee combat is the universal solution to all problems. Basic kick and punch moves accompany a weapons list of oars, shovels, knives, and crafted items you will find or create, and although melee in this game is an eternally inexact science thanks to some imperfect hit detection; when it does work, it works well.

Stabbing the arms off of a hulking Thug zombie and watching him continue to attack with headbutts is the sort of thing that will fuel YouTube fan videos for months to come. Another inspired touch lets you coax a Suicide Zombie into a ring of shuffling Walkers, then watch as they collectively explode in a ray of gore.

New stuff to check out

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

strickers66's Avatar

strickers66

I don't get all these low reviews.The biggest problem I have is the difficulty in getting connected for 4 player co op.I love this game.It mostly looks good,has great atmosphere and ticks my loot and levelling boxes.It plays better than I thought it would too.

As for Edge.Since Tony Mott took over as editor again(from GameCentral)it's been all downhill.Their anti fun,and even more so,anti PS bias is nothing short of insane.I cancelled my subs awhile ago.

Dead Island getting anything below a 6 is absurd and I'd rate it a lot higher with connection caveats.
Posted 06:31 on 12 September 2011
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

For some reason i kinda felt it wouldnt score high. What with the shear amount of other Zombie games out there like Dead Rising 2 and L4D etc.
Posted 20:48 on 11 September 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

I really do hope they make a second Bulletstorm because you can't end a game like that, no way.
Posted 18:48 on 11 September 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ renegade

If Bulletstorm wasn't that good, it wouldn't of had the raving reviews would it not. :P Go check metacritic, but alas! Opinions.
Posted 14:46 on 11 September 2011
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ InvalidUser

Pc version is ok, few issues nothing game breaking. If any one has problems visit the Steam Forums their are so many work arounds and Fixes. Yeh its Lazy but the Pc community is normally good at fixing games themselves
Posted 14:36 on 11 September 2011
InvalidUser's Avatar

InvalidUser

Game media in audience disconnect shocker.

Haha some EG peedo looking writer says he feels bad for people playing Dead Island instead of El Shaddei.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

"They're clearly trying to copy successful games and failing, some original ideas could have came in handy and MIGHT have saved this mess.

Also, i think the whole PC fiasco going on at the moment with this game shows how much care they actually put into it."

Camaros on the Battlefield Copy & Paste is the answer.
Posted 14:33 on 11 September 2011
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ Wido

Scott, sorry but BUlletstorm is not that good. Its just an "Epic" game, too much toilet humour. I hope it a one off IP
Posted 14:06 on 11 September 2011
renegade's Avatar

renegade

This has become mine and my mates new "Team" game. A game we all play together, the first since L4D. Iv honestly never laughed so much with my mates, screamed so much and had this much fun on a game. Iv had more fun in 10 hours than I though I could. This game on that ground is a 10 out of 10 "Co-op" which I think is key, Reviews are opinion this game is not a solo game. I think most high reviews seem to have taken this into account.

I guess not everyone can have awesome mates like me :)
Posted 14:05 on 11 September 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Bloodstorm

There hasn't been that many new IPs this year at all. Only one IP which is in my top 3 this year is Bulletstorm. You have Dead Island, Rage and probably a few more that I have not mentioned.
Posted 10:58 on 11 September 2011
Rheinmetall's Avatar

Rheinmetall

I agree with this part "Dead Island feels like a notepad featuring the basic gist of ideas from each title" (Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead etc) and with many other arguments about the weaknesses of Dead Island.

But I have one serious objection: the review doesn't take into consideration that the game is actually quite enjoyable. From my experience certainly it's not a 6.0 game, it's an 8.0

It's like judging the Dead Rising games only by their technical standards; then everyone would rate them with a 5.0 But the point is that they were tremendously fun and addictive.

The snubbish refference to YouTube fan videos says everything about how the reviewer evaluates the "fun factor".
Posted 04:51 on 11 September 2011
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ CheekyLee

I think EDGE were probably butt-hurt over being given a dramatic slo-mo trailer with 'artfully' chosen music, and then being handed Dead Island.
Posted 14:43 on 10 September 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ Wido

It isn't that the industry isn't giving new IPs a chance it's just.......most of them are *****e. Emily, you said it yourself...

Quote:
The developers are clearly students of everything from Borderlands to FarCry, Dead Rising to Oblivion, and Dead Island feels like a notepad featuring the basic gist of ideas from each title.

They're clearly trying to copy successful games and failing, some original ideas could have came in handy and MIGHT have saved this mess.

Also, i think the whole PC fiasco going on at the moment with this game shows how much care they actually put into it.
Posted 14:34 on 10 September 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ clangod

Quote:
But the reality is, the proof is in actually playing it.


If people did that more often than passing judgement, you would get a better response.

I will go into detail in the Dead Island thread on the opening, with no spoilers, just my first initial response to the game. I can safely say that I am going enjoy this game very much.

@Reynoldio - It's in the process! :D
Posted 11:12 on 10 September 2011
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ Wido

I getcha with the fun angle Wido, I very rarely play games 'properly', especially when I'm with a bunch of mates! Breaking the game is as much fun as playing it how it's designed. Or just doing stupid things like trying to get to places that seem out of reach and so on. I think I need to comment in the thread you say you were making ;-)
Posted 08:03 on 10 September 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I was interested and somewhat curious in Dead Island since announced so it's no surprise that certain negative aspects have come to light.

I will probably pick it up later on in the piece. At the moment however, any and all games purchases will be limited to pre-owned bargains or Steam sales.

Realising that there can only be a certain amount of the undead on screen at once deflates the idea of it somewhat for me. But the reality is, the proof is in actually playing it.

So until then...
Posted 01:45 on 10 September 2011

Game Stats

Dead Island
6
Out of 10
Dead Island
  • Ambitious
  • Terrible characters
  • Tedious Quests
  • Bizarre checkpoints
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 09/09/2011
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Techland
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 9,903 68
View Full Site